Ukraine

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Art

Georgian Culture and Ukrainian Pride Highlight the 2022 Tbilisi Mural Fest

December 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a mural portrait of a woman holding a bouquet of flowers

By Sasha Korban. All images by Tiku Kobiashvili, courtesy of Tbilisi Mural Fest, shared with permission

For the last four years, Tbilisi Mural Fest has facilitated more than 40 public artworks around the Georgian capitol, and the 2022 event brought a spate of new projects to the city. Given the nation’s proximity to Russia and that country’s groundless war against Ukraine, festival organizers highlighted renowned Ukrainian muralist Sasha Korban who painted a large-scale portrait of a woman in customary clothing facing the Russian embassy. Other works include celebrations of Georgian culture and history, like a large-scale tablecloth with traditional motifs by Chertova Tina and Mohamed l’Ghacham’s dreamlike rendering of the living room of Georgian thinker and author Ilia Chavchavadze.

See some of the 2022 additions below and those from previous years on Instagram.

 

A photo of a large blue mural with ornamental white motifs

By Chertova Tina

A photo of a black and white portrait mural of a woman with colorful doodles on her face

“Circus” by Luis Gomez de Teran

A photo of a mural of a dreamlike living room

“Illia’s Room” by Mohamed l’Ghacham

A photo of a mural with two women and a plant, repeated three times vertically

“Growth” by Artez

A photo of an abstract mural on an urban building

By Kera

A photo of a mural with two figures and a portal

“M3D3A” by Vesod

A photo of a mural with two regal figures and city

By Dato Machavariani and Irakli Qadeishvili

 

 

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Art

New Banksy Works Emerge Among the Destruction in Ukraine

November 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

All images shared with permission

Banksy (previously) has been traveling through the battle-scarred streets of Ukraine, producing a slew of works directly confronting Russia’s unwarranted and unjust aggression. The elusive street artist’s signature stencils have been spotted among the rubble of bombed buildings and barricades in Borodyanka and Gorenka, both in the Bucha Region, while others are just outside the capital city of Kyiv. Each centers on the strength and resiliency of the Ukrainian people.

The works broadly criticize the ongoing war and its disastrous effects on the everyday lives of citizens, depicting a woman outfitted with hair rollers, a bathrobe, and a gas mask grasping a fire extinguisher, a bearded man scrubbing his back in an open-air bathtub, and silhouettes of young children teeter-tottering on a left-behind hunk of steel. Perhaps the most pointed piece is that of a young boy slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the ground during a judo match—according to the BBC, Putin has projected an interest in the sport.

Watch Banksy at work on these pieces in a recent YouTube video, and find more on Instagram. This is the first time the artist has emerged since the Spraycation series 15 months ago.

 

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged barricade in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

 

 



Art Photography

Mystery and Disquieting Stillness Pervade the Surreal, Conceptual Photos by Oleg Oprisco

July 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Oleg Oprisco, shared with permission

Throughout Russia’s war, photographer Oleg Oprisco (previously) has remained in his native Ukraine creating works that reflect the unjust aggression and its devastating effects. Oprisco is known for his conceptual shots that involve elaborately constructed props and scenes that capture his distinct sense of surreality. Relying on neutrals and subdued tones rather than a bold color palette, the mysterious, dreamlike images tend to center on a single figure within a quiet and unoccupied landscape.

In one recent photo directly addressing the war, a woman stands in the center of a deserted cobblestone street, her architectural backpack glowing with light. The poignant shot references the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and a similar image of a figure sheltering a dog from the rain speaks to the countless animals now struggling to survive without their human companions.

All of Oprisco’s works are available as prints. For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his process and sets, check out his Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Containing 80 Portraits, ‘Stop Tanks with Books’ Pleas for Broad, Sweeping Action in Ukraine

May 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Lina in a national costume, Orihovo-Vasylivka village, Donetsk (2018). Images © Mark Neville, courtesy of Nazraeli Press

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, British artist Mark Neville moved to Kyiv, a city he traveled to frequently from his home in London since beginning Stop Tanks with Books in 2016. The project, which culminates in a new 180-page volume edited by David Company and published by Nazraeli Press, involved documenting life in the country through portraits of passersby on the street, families lounging at the beach, and others dancing among energetic nightclub crowds.

Each photograph tethers a human face to the entirely inhumane atrocities of war and “(weaponizes) the medium to effect change.” The images are intimate and profound, showing a young girl screaming into a toy phone following shelling in 2016 or a father and son cradling goats in their home in Decyatny.

 

Alexsandr Konokov and Sasha on their Goat Farm in Decyatny, Zhytomyr Oblast, 2017

Neville’s intention for the project has always been twofold. He hoped to inspire broad, international support for Ukraine’s independence in Donbas and Crimea and to offer a necessary corrective to the stereotypical information and images disseminated by the Kremlin, which he saw Western media sources often redistributing without context. “Stop Tanks With Books was my attempt to fight Russian aggression,” Neville says.

Eighty of his portraits are positioned alongside research from the Centre of Eastern European Studies in Berlin about the 2.5 million people who had already been displaced by 2018, in addition to short stories by Ukrainian poet and novelist Lyuba Yakimchuk that detail life under Russian occupation in Donbas.

The pairings lead to a call to action written in both Ukrainian and English, one made more urgent by the full-scale assault on the nation that’s taken thousands of civilian lives alone in the last three months. “I wonder what the international response would be if Stockholm, London, Paris, or New York were threatened with an unprovoked and imminent invasion by Russia? Our book is a prayer and a necessary plea to the international community,” Neville wrote before the war officially began, when he also sent copies of the book to 750 policymakers, ambassadors, media members, and those involved in peace talks. He hoped to raise awareness about the immediate threat the people of Ukraine faced.

There are a few copies of Stop Tanks with Books available from Setanta Books, although a second edition with a new foreword by Neville is in progress. You can find much more of the photographer’s activist-centered work, in addition to more images from the series, on his site. (via Lens Culture)

 

Boy with dog, Troitske, Luhansk (2019)

Couple at Stanytsia Luhanska Bridge (2019)

Ukrainsk, Donetsk (2021

Three Kilometres from the frontline, Donetsk (2019)

Policewomen, Mariupol (2019)

Kristina in Troyitske, Eastern Ukraine, an hour after the shelling (2016)

Maria Holubets, Natalia Tarasenko, Rozalia Boiko, Maria Shvanyk, and Rozalia Mahnyk at the Greek Catholic Monastery, Zvanivka (2018)

 

 



Craft Food

A Cast of Felted Food, Animals, and Other Characters by Manooni Exude Joy and Goodwill

May 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Manooni, shared with permission

Olha and Hanna Dovhan (previously) are the creative minds behind the adorable felt sculptures of Manooni. Whimsical and endlessly cheerful, the small family units, pairs of pears, and coupled avocados are needle felted with wool and finished with tiny grins.

Based in Ukraine, the Dovhans have spent the majority of the war in Lviv, although their mother, who is also part of the Manooni team, remains with family members in the now Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia region. The sisters brought some of their materials with them to finish projects that were already underway and have been raising money for Ukrainians in need via Patreon. “Unfortunately, the war is not over, and we can’t leave behind people who are suffering from this terrible invasion,” Olha tells Colossal.

You can support Manooni’s work by shopping available pieces on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design Illustration

A Set of Notecards Celebrates Pysanka, the Ukrainian Tradition of Egg Decorating

April 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Present & Correct

The team at Present & Correct recently released a set of six Riso-printed notecards in homage to the Ukrainian art of pysanka. A springtime staple, the annual activity involves decorating eggs with folk motifs utilizing a wax-resist method—read more about the technique previously on Colossal. Each blank card showcases four different designs in pastel tones above a phrase reading “Peace and Hope” in Ukrainian, a message steeped in the tradition itself. The packs are available now in the Present & Correct shop, and all proceeds will be donated to Voices of Children, which is aiding those dealing with the trauma of the ongoing war.